Japan Receives More E-2D Hawkeyes amid AEW restructure

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) has taken delivery of third and fourth Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) aircraft.

In 2015, the MoD placed a $1.7 billion order for four E-2Ds. In October 2018, Japanese Defense Minister, Takeshi Iwaya, announced the procurement of nine additional E-2D for an estimated $3.135 billion. So far, Japan has spent about $1 billion on its E-2D procurement program. A total of five E-2D aircraft are slated to be delivered by the end of 2022.

“Northrop Grumman’s longstanding partnership with Japan is beginning a new chapter with the delivery of the third and fourth Japan E-2D,” says Northrop Grumman’s Jane Bishop.

“This aircraft provides a significant increase in early warning and surveillance capability to outpace Japan’s evolving security needs.”

The aircrafts were four aircrafts on firm order, and it first flew in November 2017. According to Northrop, it was handed over to JASDF in March.

In September 2018, the possibility of additional orders was raised when the US government cleared Tokyo to obtain nine additional examples.

Japanese E-2Ds have several modifications compared with those operated by the US Navy from its aircraft carriers. Given that Tokyo’s aircraft will operate from land bases, it is modified to carry extra fuel in a “wet wing”, providing endurance of 8h, compared with 5h for the US E-2Ds. Those aircraft rely on air-to-air refuelling to boost endurance.

Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows that Tokyo operates 13 E-2Cs and four Boeing E-767s in the AEW&C mission.

“The E-2D delivers a two-generation leap in radar technology, allowing the aircraft to track threats at extended range,” says Northrop.

“The aircraft can also be used in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capacity for civilian emergency coordination. The E-2D offers interoperability with next-generation aircraft systems and U.S. Navy allies to support regional security cooperation.”

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